Top 4 Reasons why Non-Teachers Can Never Really Understand this Job:
Believe it or not, I once had an older family member approach me at a party and say, “Oh, I want my son to talk to you about teaching because he wants a career that’s easy and not stressful.” I don’t even remember my response to this illogical and bizarre comment, but obviously this lady’s clueless ness made a major impression on me. I’m still confounded by this idea even ten years after the incident occurred.
You may have been on the receiving end of similar comments, such as:
You’re so lucky to have so much holiday time, especially Christmas time. Teachers have it so easy!
You only have 20 students in your class. That’s not so bad!
It must be so easy to teach lower primary classes. The children don’t have attitudes when they’re so young.
All of these ignorant and annoying comments just go to show that people who aren’t in education simply can’t understand all of the work that goes into being a classroom teacher. Even many administrators seem to have forgotten about all of the trials and tribulations teachers face on the front lines of education.
1. In Nursery and Primary schools, teachers deal with gross bathroom-related issues. Even a high school teacher could never understand some of the crises related to bodily functions that a typical primary teacher has to deal with on a regular basis. Potty accidents (and more instances too disgusting to reiterate here) are something that we can’t shy away from. I’ve had primary kids who still can’t tell they want to visit a toilet and let me tell you – it’s stinky. Is there any amount of money or holiday time worth cleaning up vomit and human drops from the classroom floor with your own two hands?
2. Teachers are not just teachers. – The word “teacher” just doesn’t cover it. Teachers are also nurses, psychologists, recess monitors, social workers, parental counselors, secretaries, copy machine mechanics, and almost literally parents, in some instances, to their students. If you’re in a corporate setting, you can say, “That’s not in my job description.” When you’re a teacher, you have to be ready for everything and anything to be thrown at you on a given day. And there’s no turning it down.
3. Everything’s always a teacher’s fault. – Parents, principals, and society in general blame teachers for every problem under the sun. Teachers pour their hearts and souls into teaching and 99.99% of teachers are the most generous, ethical, and competent workers you can find. They have the best of intentions in a messed-up education system. But somehow they still get the blame. But they keep teaching and trying to make a difference.
4. The job is really serious. – When there’s a mistake or a problem, it’s often heart-breaking and important. In the corporate world, a glitch might mean a spreadsheet needs to be redone or a little money was wasted. But in education, the problems go much deeper: a child lost on a field trip, students lamenting parents in jail, a little girl sexually assaulted on the walk home from school, a boy being raised by his great-grandmother because everyone else in his life abandoned him. These are true stories that I’ve had to witness. The pure human pain gets to you after awhile, especially if you’re a teacher out to fix everything. Teachers can’t fix everything and that makes the problems we witness hurt all the more.
So in the interest of bonding together and examining the commonalities that only true teacher can understand, we just need to know that Non-Teachers Just Don’t “Get It.” If you doubt the fact of this matter, post your thoughts to me.